Joining a Startup? Learn 7 Secrets in Less Than 7 Minutes



Startups are the buzzword in India right now as the younger generation is willing to break the mould and do something that excites them. Working for a startup is clearly more acceptable to the current workforce in India. I can tell you that as our previous post on startups, “7 reasons for choosing a startup over a corporate to work for” was amongst the most popular ones that we shared on Facebook recently.

Encouraged by its popularity, I feel obliged to share the top 7 qualities (I should totally call this series “The Startup Sevens!” ) that would make you more likely get hired by a startup.. Exciting, right? Read on…

1. Self Drive:

In a startup, teams are small and everyone is expected to give their 110% to make it a success. Needless to say, that drive has to come from within. You shouldn’t expect that your supervisor to coax you into doing things (most cases you wouldn’t have a supervisor, other than yourself). You should be proactive enough to find your solutions to the problems that you face and keep thinking of ways to help the company grow. Even if you join a startup as an employee, it’s a given that you should have the entrepreneurial mindset and you should treat the company as your own (think equity) and work all out to make it a success.

2. Integrity:

Your strength of character is the ultimate trait that can take you very far in a startup environment. If you are honest towards your responsibilities, you make the cut to be an excellent Startup hire. Integrity is not something that people can evaluate you upon, in just a round of interview, however, you can be assured that it wouldn’t take long people to realize what you are made of.

3. Problem Solving Skills:

A Startup employee must be good at solving problems. Whether you are an engineer or a customer support executive, you would be facing unique challenges every day in a startup environment. It is your knack of solving problems that can help you get through in that kind of an environment. This is an important parameter and one that can easily be assessed by the hiring manager at the interview level itself. You can even assess yourself on your problem solving expertise by taking a test online. Your assessment will then help you to improve upon the areas that you lack in. Here is a link to assess your problem solving skills.

4. Being Flexible:

In a startup environment, you are expected to be very flexible. Whether it be your working hours, your roles and responsibilities or your pay check; you must be ready to make adjustments as per the need of the hour. So if you are a person that doesn’t like surprises, probably a startup is not the place for you. If you have worked for a big corporate where everything was defined to the last detail, you will have a really hard time adjusting in a startup where every day something in the process would be changing.

5. Good Health and Stamina:

Startups demand a lot out of you. You may need to work late hours, sometimes without breaks to complete a vital task. That is why it is so important that you are fit and strong as a horse (a healthy one). You must take some time out for your workouts to keep you in good shape. How many successful startup CEOs have you seen who are out of shape? (Zuckerberg, Larry-Sergey, etc. etc.) Not many, right. There is a reason for that. To be able to succeed in such a demanding environment you have no option but to keep yourself fit.

6. Risk taking ability:

You should have something called “Smart recklessness”. You shouldn’t be foolish in the risks that you take but must possess the ability to take calculated risks. Who am I telling this? You wouldn’t join a startup in the first place if you didn’t have this trait. You must listen to your instinct and once you have taken the risk, you must back it up with all that you have got.

7. Persistence:

You should be super persistent and competitive. You can’t have a bone in a body that gives up easily. Believe me, at a startup you would be tempted to give on a daily basis and you get saved by your ability to persist, even in the most unfavorable circumstances. Persistent people have the grind and grit that makes them successful in a startup environment. Even in the face of setbacks, you should have the ability to keep up the hard work and hope for the best outcome.

If you are thinking of joining a startup or starting up on your own, I hope you possess some of these qualities. Just remember, there is nothing that you cannot inculcate. All you need is passion for what you have decided to do. If you feel I missed out on some of the traits that would help you through a startup, please feel free to leave a comment or write to us at

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